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Vodafone engineers 'head for the heights' to provide 4G in London skyscraper

Wednesday, February 10th 2016 by Ellen Branagh

One of the capital’s oldest skyscrapers will be able to offer the highest 4G service in the City of London thanks to a new partnership with Vodafone.

Vodafone and Tower 42 are using an ‘in-building 4G system’ to deliver high-speed mobile data to all 42 floors, meaning visitors will be able to get the same coverage no matter how high they are.

The system, which uses Vodafone’s high-bandwidth 2.6GHz spectrum, has seen engineers install hundreds of antennae plus more than 6,100m of coax cable and 2,000m of fibre to power the system.

Stretched out, this would equal more than 43 times the height of the building, or the distance from London Bridge to the Natural History Museum.

Vodafone UK’s head of network Kye Prigg said the operator is increasingly providing 4G systems to give customers in tall buildings the coverage they need.

“We are delighted that Tower 42 invited us to partner with them to deliver the best service possible to our customers, in one of the busiest and most popular areas of London.

“With many of London’s skyscrapers now towering above our mobile network below, our engineers have to head for the heights in order to provide customers with a strong 4G signal.

“Increasingly, we are providing bespoke 4G systems to achieve this, as well as working out new ways to overcome modern designs, such as reflective glass which can divert radio waves.”

Tower 42, which provides office space in the City of London, is home to more than 50 international companies, comprising 3,500 people.

'Connectivity is critical'

Speaking on behalf of the skyscraper’s owners, Philip Lewis, Kirsh Group, said: “At Tower 42, we take great pride in offering the best facilities and there is no doubt that good mobile phone and data connectivity is critical to modern business success.

“In partnership with Vodafone, this technology allows us to lead the way in delivering dedicated 4G coverage to the 2,500 people who work within the tower and our 1,200 daily visitors.”

Vodafone said the 4G system in Tower 42 is part of its investment in the London network, which now offers 4G to 99% of the city’s population.

The operator has boasted that it has expanded its ultrafast 4G coverage to 750 larger cities, towns and districts as well as thousands of smaller communities across the UK, as part of a £2bn investment in its nationwide network over two years.

Last year, Vodafone said Britain’s frontline public sector workers would be able to deliver better public services if they had access to 4G.

The provider's comments in September followed a YouGov survey which found that just 8% of frontline workers – including police officers, district nurses and social workers – are equipped with 4G devices.

Vodafone said fast mobile connectivity would improve critical decision making in the field, reduce time spent on administration and ultimately improve the service provided to citizens.

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